Can Startup Nation be an incubator for Palestinian high-tech entrepreneurs? (full text)
.... Palestinian universities produce around 2,000 IT graduates annually, … not enough jobs for them in the West Bank, …. most grads need look for jobs in the Gulf. And competition there is fierce. ….
…. , a three-year old USAID funded initiative that handpicks Palestinian IT graduates and sends them on internships in multinational companies and Israeli startups. ….. how to operate a successful and competitive tech startup and bring this knowledge back home to help build a Palestinian high-tech sector.
…. The PIP initiative was set up by Yadin Kauffman, an American immigrant to Israel who in 2011 co-founded Sadara (Arabic for “forefront”), the first venture capital firm to target Palestinian tech startups. …. aims to provide the Palestinian tech sector with another kind of capital: experience. …. “That is something that is important for the professional development of these young graduates.” …. compared Palestinian internships in Israel to the valuable experience Israelis took home from working in Silicon Valley. ….
“PIP tries to put you in an environment with professional people who have deep experience in the industry and exposure to global markets. …. East Jerusalemite was hired by Intel and worked there for a few years. …. now studying data analytics in the United States. Her goal is to open up her own Palestinian data analytics company. ….
PIP, which incorporated in the US and receives funds from USAID, is intentionally kept apolitical. It’s strictly business. …. “Pretty much everyone agrees it’s in Israel’s interest to have a Palestinian economy that is growing, able to employ people and successful. ….
…. Israel’s Civil Administration, the military body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, has been “cooperative” in the issuing of interns permits for the duration of their stay in Israel.
…The Palestinian hi-tech sector is largely comprised out-sourcing companies, or copycats of existing businesses adapted to the Arabic language market. …..
…. “What we hope to do in Rawabi tech-hub is to relocate the Palestinian high-tech companies, and try to bring in small multi-nationals to open operations in Palestine. This will increase the quality and competitiveness of the local talent,” ….
…. Israel is facing a shortage of skilled engineers and workers and is looking to tap into new sources of workers, including women, Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations . …
Large multi-nationals in Israel, including Cisco, Microsoft, HP and Intel already outsource to Palestinian companies in West Bank. …. one can be optimistic about the potential for the Palestinian high-tech sector,” he said, especially in the Arab language based technologies.
…. Palestinians can look to Israel as an example of a high-tech market overcoming the odds of being both small and bogged down by conflict. ….